For recreation therapists, play is part of the road to recovery


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Since the American Therapeutic Recreation Association has deemed February “Therapeutic Recreation Month,” I want to give a salute to all the recreation therapists working at VHA.

While you probably have a general idea of what a surgeon or nurse or psychologist does for a living, the role of a recreation therapist might not be on your radar – but rest assured these men and women play a vital role in modern health care.

Recreational therapy uses recreational activities to address the needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions. It improves a patient’s quality of life, increases independence, and promotes valued health care outcomes. Want to know more? Here are five facts related to recreational therapy:

  1. “Therapeutic recreation” is the field. “Recreational therapy” is the practice.
  2. Recreational therapy is extremely individualized to each person by his or her past, present and future interests and lifestyle.
  3. Professionals in this field can get credentialed as Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists.
  4. At VA, recreational therapy serves the Veteran population in cardiac rehabilitation, chronic illness, drug and alcohol abuse, geriatrics, psychiatrics, spinal cord injuries and general medical and surgical treatments.
  5. Our recreational therapy programs include games, sports, arts and crafts, music therapy, dance therapy, outdoor recreation and more.

Take a look at how the Washington DC VA Medical Center celebrated.  And if you want to see a day in the life of a recreation therapist, watch this video from our friends at NIH.

To all of the recreation therapists everywhere: Happy Therapeutic Recreation Month and thank you for your dedication and hard work!

If you’re a recreation therapist – or studying to become one – you should consider a career with VA. We continue to be the largest employer of recreational therapists in the nation. Interested in other health care careers with VHA, find out more and Join VA.

Author

Darren Sherrard